Tatyana McFadden made it a spectacular five out of five gold medals – with one event still to go – as she won the 1,500m and 100m events T54 at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France, On Thursday (25).
The 24-year-old American wheelchair racer has already won the 200m, 800m and 5,000m and just has the 400m remaining as she aims to secure a remarkable six world titles.
Racing the 1500m first, McFadden took an early lead then dropped back after two laps to let her rivals take on the hard work at the front.
However, it was clear that she was just waiting for her moment, and that came with 300m remaining as the triple London 2012 Paralympic games champion cruised past three racers before pushing hard to the line in a winning time of 3:34.06.
With just enough time for a quick massage, McFadden was soon back out on track to contest the 100m T54 final, arguably one of the weakest event in her extensive repertoire.
The 2011 World Championships bronze medallist was made to battle hard to the line, after China’s Wenjun Lui tore off at the gun, but the American’s power and determination brought her through, stopping the clock at 16.42.
“It’s unbelievable,” said McFadden. “Today was my toughest day with the 100m and the 1,500m, which are two very different races requiring different focusses.
"I knew the 1,500m would be hard and exhausting, I was feeling really tired today, it is really tough. The 100m is the hardest race for me. My start was just okay and I still need to work on it.”
Raymond Martin is another American dominating his events at these World Championships, as the 19-year-old delivered yet another gold medal, his fourth so far, in the 200m T52. Like Mcfadden, Martin has just the 400m left to complete his set.
“This race went well, this event is my favourite,” said Martin. “I got off the blocks perfectly and after 90 metres I knew I would win. I was feeling confident before the race, now I have one more to go so I have to refocus. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Another dazzling display of sprinting by double Paralympic champion Jason Smyth meant he goes home with yet another major sprint double to add to his collection. The Irishman’s blistering speed meant he broke his own championship record to win the 100m T13 well clear of the field in 10.61.
Smyth sizzles to sprint double-double
“Coming to a major championship is ultimately about winning, the times are irrelevant,” said Smyth, who remains unbeaten in Paralympic competition. “I’m delighte. I’ve put a whole lot of hard work in to this.”
Poland’s Mateusz Michalski also secured his sprint double, winning the 100m T12 in 10.79 four days after taking gold over 200m.
Dutch sprinter Marlou van Rhijn of the Netherlands upset the host nation’s hopes of another gold when she beat local favourite Marie-Amelie Le Fur to the top of the podium in the 100m T44.
The 21-year-old was just 0.06 off of the world record she set in Berlin last month, clocking 13.02.
“That was really cool,” said van Rhijn. “I was quite nervous, it’ such a competitive race and I really wanted to win. It was a tough one, because every time I start they start faster. So I have to be confident to get there in the end. Every time that happens it’s such a good feeling.”
Cuba’s Paralympic champion Yunidis Castillo tore through the field in the women’s 200m T46, clocking 24.66, 0.02 faster than her own previous championship record, to take her second title in Lyon. In fact, it was a repeat of the podium from London last summer as South Africa’s Anrune Liebenberg took the silver medal and Poland’s Alicja Fiodorow the bronze.
Brazil’s Terezinha Guilhermina’s bid for a hat trick of individual gold medals at her second consecutive World Championships is still on track as she won the 400m T11 with ease in 56.56, to add that title to the one over 100m .
There was a slow start in the men’s 1500m T46 with the pack staying tightly together through 800m until Australia’s Michael Roeger took to the front but he couldn’t hold off Samir Nouioua, and with 200m to go, and the Algeria’s defending champion hit the front before eventually taking the gold in 4:05.61. Brazil’s Alex Pires accelerated down the home straight for silver, with Roeger having to settle for bronze.
Morocco’s Abdelillah Mame who looked the man to beat in the 1500m T13, starting strongly from the gun and stretching out the field, but with just under 700 metres to go Mame pulled up to leave his compatriots Tarik Zalzouli and Youssef Benibrahim to battle with Algeria’s Abdellatif Baka for the gold.
Baka, who won 800m T13 earlier in the week, sprinted clear in the closing stages to cross the line in a championship record 3:53.05. Benibrahim went one better than his 2011 bronze, taking silver ahead of Zalzouli.
Brazil’s Yeltsin Jacques put on a terrific display as he held his own against Tunisia’s Paralympic champion Abderrahim Zhiou throughout the first three laps of the 1500m T12 but the latter showed his class and put his foot down with 100m to go to take home yet another gold medal in 4:01.52 with Jacques taking the silver with a personal best of 4:03.52.
In the men’s 800m T34, Walid Ktila secured his third gold of the championships with a win in the 800m T34. The Tunisian controlled the race from the front to cross the line in 1:51.25.
In the women’s discus F35/36, Ukraine’s Mariia Pomazan of the Ukraine bettered her own World record set in London last year with a throw of 31.42 (1024 points).
Spain’s two-time double World champion David Casinos Sierra, who won Discus F11 on the opening day of competition, was the only competitor to go over 13 metres in the Shot Put F11 and reached 13.07m in the second round to clinch victory.
Russia’s Alexey Ashapatov also notched up a Discus-Shot Put World double for the third consecutive time, winning the shot put F58 title with 15.41m, whilst Great Britain’s Scott Jones - only 15 years old - set a World record on his international debut, winning the Shot Put F34 title with 13.38m.
Algeria’s Lahouari Bahlaz set a world record of 37.51m (1048 points) to retain his club throw F31/32/51 title, and Iceland’s Helgi Sveinsson of Iceland set a championship record of 50.98m for the Javelin F42 gold medal.
IPC Athletics for the IAAF